Book Review: Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

Kingdom of the Wicked

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Series: Kingdom of the Wicked #1

Genre: YA, fantasy, paranormal, romance

View on Goodreads


Two sisters.

One brutal murder.

A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…

And an intoxicating romance.

Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost-even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.

Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked-princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems…

my review

I’m a student. I was suffering through exams.

But then, this book came into my life.

To start off, even though the concept of demon princes and the magical paranormal is not original, this book did not feel unoriginal at all.

The medieval feel of “the Wicked” and the world-building was so easy to be become immersed in. It was easy to understand yet felt complicated enough for it to make sense to be a world of its own. I love the more traditional feel of magic and witches that includes herbs, drawing protective circles, etc instead of the more modern witches we have seen in more typical paranormal YA novels.

Emilia is a protagonist that you can TELL how smart she is without the author needing to constantly state how smart she is throughout the entire book.

Authors often would constantly re-emphasize the intelligence of the protagonist over and over again. This is very…unintelligent because not only does this get annoying as time passes, it’s counter-intuitive because the reader would start to notice the lack of evidence to support that description. However, Emilia is one of the few protagonists I’ve come across in YA novels where the author never ONCE stated “she was smart”, but you can tell just by reading the book. By reading the book mostly through Emilia’s narration, we can see her flow of logic as she connects the dots. This was so satisfying to read and truly impressed me regarding her intelligence and capabilities as a character. Not only that, she actually listened to the advices. You know how a lot of times in books like this, there’s always an “old saying” from their culture regarding with warnings such as “you can never trust this group of people”, “you should never make certain bonds/promises with this group of people”, “this group of people can never be trusted”, and the protagonist almost always breaks these warnings?

Emilia doesn’t.

This caught me off completely. I was fully expecting her to break all of these warnings from the old tales. Yet she rejected the blood bound offer, she was EXTREMELY cautious with dealing with the demons such as Greed and Envy, she did’t give up information easily and didn’t trust anyone easily, and she was actually careful not to give internal authorization to things related to her until absolutely necessary (you’ll know what I’m taking about when you read the book).

The fact that she actually LISTENED to these warning was…it was…

The story itself is amazing too.

The mystery build-up and the revelations at the end of the book all made sense and clicked together perfectly (thank god). There were a few ones that I saw coming, but overall it made sense and made the book spicier than it already is. The book also achieved the one thing I am ALWAYS looking for in YA books: a perfect balance between romance and plot. The plot was significant enough to drive the story along alongside the progressing relationship between Emilia and Wrath. As someone who enjoys romance but also still want an actual story to hold up the series (not just pure romance), I cannot express how much I appreciate this. It is one of the biggest reasons why I enjoyed this book so much.

Overall, HIGHLY RECOMMEND. One of the best books I read in 2020. Kind of saved after the disaster known as 2020 exam season *cries in Econ*.

Rating: 5/5

about the author

I’m mostly on instagram–where I’m always ready to talk fictional crushes and nerd out over books. (Okay, okay. And I’ve also been known to share snippets and teasers from my upcoming novels, if you’re into that sort of thing…) Please feel free to chat with me there @KerriManiscalco. I love talking with fellow readers!

Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats.

She is the #1 NYT and USA Today bestselling author of the STALKING JACK THE RIPPER quartet. The final installment, CAPTURING THE DEVIL, will be released on 9/10/19. KINGDOM OF THE WICKED, the first in a new YA fantasy series, is slated for fall 2020.

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